More remains of woolly mammoths found at Hills Quarry site near Swindon

By Jamie Hill - 8 September 2023


Mammoth fossils continue to be excavated at a Hills quarry near Swindon.

  • Palaeontologists excavating a mammoth tusk found at the Hills Quarry site near Swindon

    Palaeontologists excavating a mammoth tusk found at the Hills Quarry site near Swindon

The new phase of palaeontological activity called Mammoth 2.0 has seen further exploration of the site, where in 2019 and 2021 a 200,000-year-old mammoth graveyard was found.

The gravel pit in the Cotswold Water Park area, which is run by Hills Quarry Products, ended up being part of a documentary called Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard screened in 2021.

The recent dig is being carried out by Neo Jurassica, working in conjunction with Archaeological Research Services, leading universities, museums and experts to continue this invaluable work on the next chapter of discovery.

The new palaeolithic finds at the site include the remains of steppe mammoth tusks, a pygmy mammoth tooth, several bison vertebrae, a rib and jawbone, wild horse ribs and a partially complete tooth from a cave or brown bear.

James Hogg, Director of Neo Jurassica said: “It was a true pleasure to meet Mike Hill and the team at Hills. If it wasn’t for their support and shared vision of the scientific importance of this site, this multidisciplinary systematic excavation would not have been possible.”

All important material is being conserved at the Yorkshire Natural History Museum in Sheffield, which will be accessible to researchers across the UK. The scope for this second phase of the investigation is vast. By amassing a large collection of mammoth bones, much can be learned about the size and social structure of their herds and how this compares to modern elephants.

A spokesman for Hills said: "It is hugely important for Hills to be involved in work like this. Quarrying is fundamental in recreating biodiverse habitats, wet woodlands and enhancing nature. Whilst this is not always seen, it highlights the scientific importance of this site and how cooperation can benefit both the quarrying and scientific industries."

Peter Andrew, Group Director, Hills Quarry Products said: “It’s a fantastic site and it just keeps on giving. We are looking forward to next year when we will welcome more teams of experts to carry out the next part of the excavation.”

As the area is not accessible and is normally underwater, the excavation involved dewatering the area using water pumps. Upon completion of the current investigation, the area was restored as a temporary lake.

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